With each imaginary city a separate but coalescent epistemological riddle, Calvino’s Invisible Cities is a meditation on the troubles of knowing the world in which we live and our place in it. The only systematicity to be found in Calvino’s ecology of knowledge is in the paradoxes; common sense is playfully evaded in favor of illogical realism and non-Euclidean quantum physics. Radical is, I argue, the a-systemic object ontology and the agential epistemology Calvino offered 50 years ago, if interpreted as a reflection on the limitations of knowledge. Logocentrism (i), the concept of logical truth (ii), progressive timelines of accumulated wisdom (iii), and the assumption of the possibility of objectivity (iv) leave instead space for silent forms of communication and uncertainty (i), the primacy of doubt (ii), and the redistribution in the world of time, agency, and cognition (iii–iv), all of which flatten hierarchies and decenter the human. They also oblige us to confront fears, desires, and assumptions in order to start knowing and perhaps enjoying the difficulty of knowledge.
|Title of host publication||Invisible Cities and the Urban Imagination|
|Place of Publication||London and New York|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Nov 2022|